PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Timo Soininen, Small Giant Games

Using multiplayer to drive retention and longevity

PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Timo Soininen, Small Giant Games

After taking over London at the start of 2014, Pocket Gamer Connects will make its grand return on the 16-17 June in the Nordic paradise of Helsinki.

We expect you'll be thinking of grabbing a ticket (if you haven't already).

And to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speaker selection to give a deeper look at the speakers taking the stage at PG Connects.

 Small Giant is a mobile games company based in Helsinki, Finland. It focuses on creating beautiful and deeply engaging character-driven multiplayer mobile games for the casual-plus audience.

Its experienced team consists of former core team members of Habbo Hotel  and other world class designers and developers.

Its first game is described as a new type of flying game with stunning graphics, detailed characters, physics-based animations and multiplayer features.

Pocket Gamer: What has been the biggest story in mobile gaming this year?

Timo Soininen: For me, the continued success of Supercell’s strategy with the Boom Beach  launch is just amazing.

Boom Beach - amazing continued success

For our company, the biggest thing has been the great feedback (and good advice) for our first game from top guys in the industry and some of the big publishers- very motivating.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges/opportunities for the mobile game industry in 2014

One of the biggest challenges is to keep the F2P model fair and 'acceptable' for all players and the non-gamer community so that regulators do not step in too aggressively.

It will be interesting to see what forms the F2P model will take in the near future as more and more new very casual users enter the gaming market.

How well do you think indie developers are doing at the moment?

The great thing is that the total market is growing a lot and still poses a lot of niche opportunities - we will see more and more smaller but still successful games for more targeted audiences.

We will see more smaller but still successful games for more targeted audiences.
Timo Soininen

They are easier to market cost-effectively compared to trying to reach very large generic audiences. Working on virality is still critical and the other challenge, of course, is to cut through the competitive noise and to acquire users very cost effectively.

I think partnerships with traditional media and marketeers will increase a lot, in addition to currently widely online and mobile networks. The creative side of ads will see a lot of focus as advert impact is critical for success.

What is your advice for developers looking to make their games a hit in emerging markets?

Obviously one of the key things is to create concepts that appeal universally. This can be very difficult as cultural differences, popular game mechanics and aesthetics of popular games vary a lot in Asia versus the western markets.

Maybe the better bet is choose and focus on the primary market.

One of the key things in Asia seems to be use of daily tournaments which are driving higher retention and activate users.

What are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects?

Meeting the top industry guys speaking and to hear their thoughts on where the industry in moving.

Which mobile game has made the biggest impression on you this year?

Rovio’s Retry - an interesting tactical move from them. It's great nostalgia for an old pixel guy like me and there's also the frustration…

And finally, in 140 characters describe what you think the hot topic in mobile gaming will be in the next 6 months and why that’s the case.

Multiplayer features will dramatically increase as the essential feature in games as they will drive the retention and longevity of games.

Grab your tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki here! and and don't forget to keep up-to-date our with new speakers.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.